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Best Holiday Charitable Giving in Southeast Michigan

Great organizations that help you and your family donate, give or volunteer to the less fortunate in 2013 in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties

The holiday season is all about giving. Help make someone's spirits a little brighter by partnering with a charitable organization this holiday season. Bonus: You and your family get to spend some quality time together – all while helping worthy local groups. Or, if time's at a premium, why not make a donation to a great cause? Metro Parent gathered details from some of the top nonprofit charities in southeast Michigan. Browse this list to see where your family can volunteer – or give to – this holiday season.

Arbor Hospice

  • Addresses: 23366 Oak Valley Drive, Ann Arbor; 21647 Allen Road, Woodhaven; 40500 Ann Arbor Road, Plymouth
  • Phone: 734-662-5999 (Ann Arbor line)
  • Hours: volunteers are needed 24/7

Arbor Hospice offers comfort and support to caregivers and patients who face life-limiting illnesses. Volunteers can offer support to caregivers and patients – or donate time helping with administrative tasks. It's also offering a special option this holiday season: For a suggested minimum donation of $25, you can receive a handmade ornament-style Hearts of Remembrance gift.

Big Family of Michigan

  • Address: 17560 Helro, Fraser
  • Phone: 586-415-6968 or 248-885-0155 (talk to Jeanne Fowler)
  • Holiday hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday
  • Regular hours: hours vary; please call ahead

Big Family of Michigan strives to serve the needs of Michigan's foster children and young adults. You and your family can help out this holiday season by donating new toys for children ages birth to 18. Big Family of Michigan also needs volunteers to wrap the gifts.

Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Meal Programs

  • Address: Conner kitchen (serves working families and seniors), 4390 Conner St., Detroit; Meldrum kitchen (serves chronically poor), 1264 Meldrum St., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-822-8606, ext. 117 (Conner); 313-579-2100, ext. 218 (Meldrum)
  • Hours: call ahead for details

Volunteerism is at the heart of this long-time local program, from preparing food in the kitchen and serving meals to guests to building pantry boxes and packing meat (in warm weather, there's also a chance to pitch in at its Earthworks garden). Young and old are welcome to help: It's rewarding hard work, the website says. Check ahead to see when you can jump in.

Cass Community Social Services

  • Address: 11850 Woodrow Wilson St., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-883-2277, ext. 203 (talk to Sue Tethoud)
  • Hours: open 24/7; volunteers are able to help at almost any time

This Detroit-based charity works throughout the metro Detroit area to provide food, health, housing and jobs in places overcome with poverty. You and your kids can volunteer to work in the kitchen, help with maintenance or assist with Cass Green Industries.

Detroit Area Diaper Bank

  • Address: 45361 Indian Creek Drive, Canton
  • Phone: contact via website
  • Hours: contact to arrange a drop-off/drive, or visit website to find out if there is a diaper drive going on (one typically happens around the Thanksgiving season)

The Detroit Area Diaper bank aims to provide diapers to those who are most in need in our community. Why diapers? None of the assistance programs for the less-fortunate offer diapers, the group explains, so the DADB helps those in need by distributing diapers. How can you give? Get your church, office or family to host a diaper drive, or ask about donation opportunities. Note: Read more about Detroit Area Diaper Bank founder Marybeth Levine in this article.

Detroit Area Agency on Aging, Meals on Wheels

  • Address: 1333 Brewery Park Blvd., Detroit (just around the corner from Easter Market)
  • Phone: 313-446-4444
  • Hours: Meals on Wheels volunteers generally work in the morning; check ahead for schedule and details

The Detroit Area Agency on Aging provides the Detroit Holiday Meals on Wheels program. There's no public funding for weekend/holiday meals for seniors, so the DAAA relies on your help. Volunteers deliver meals to seniors; you also can become trained to help seniors understand Medicare and Medicaid. On a family level, kids are able to volunteer for Detroit Holiday Meals on Wheels program, too – and you can also contribute a donation.

Food Gatherers

  • Address: 1 Carrot Way, Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-761-2796
  • Hours: open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday; volunteer hours vary

Food Gatherers provides food for 150 nonprofit agencies and programs directly serving adults and kids in Washtenaw County. That assistance takes the form of hot meals, nutritious snacks and emergency groceries. Volunteers help sort and package the food, plus prepare and serve meals in the Community Kitchen. Rockin' for the Hungry, presented by Food Gatherers, 107.1 WQKL and Kroger, aims to collect food donations during the holidays (the current one is Dec. 4-8, 2013).

Forgotten Harvest

  • Address: 21800 Greenfield Road, Oak Park
  • Phone: 248-967-1500
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-noon, 1-4 p.m. and 4:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturday

Forgotten Harvest aims to relieve hunger in metro Detroit by gathering extra food from grocery stores, bakeries and more – to distribute to emergency food providers. Volunteers are able to help pack food. (Note: Volunteers must be at least 12 years of age, and volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.)

Gleaners Community Food Bank

  • Address: 2131 Beaufait St., Detroit
  • Phone: 866-GLEANER (453-2637)
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Gleaners offers many ways for your family to donate time this season. You can sort and pack food, staff a special event or work in the office. Gleaners even has Kids Helping Kids, where children can help other kids on their own. Individual volunteers, families and more are welcome. Kids must be accompanied by a guardian. Going to be out of town this holiday season? You can still volunteer come January!

Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit

  • Address: 41937 Ford Road, Canton; 3281 Crumb Road, Commerce Township; 22451 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 3111 Grand River Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-557-8791 (Detroit location)
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and noon-6 p.m. Sunday

Goodwill Industries makes it a priority to put people to work who are having difficulty finding employment. Volunteers sort clothing in the stores in Dearborn, Canton and Commerce. Note that volunteers must be ages 14 and older.

Humble Design

  • Address: In-Kind Donations Warehouse, 1876 Thunderbird Road, Troy
  • Phone: 248-243-7144
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday to drop off donations

Humble Design aims to turn a house into a home for families just getting on their feet by providing gently used household goods. Your donated furniture helps furnish the homes of those in need. Volunteers also are needed to go to family's homes to help decorate. Other opportunities allow volunteers to come in and organize linens or kitchen items in the warehouse. Humble Design prefers volunteers in high school or older.

Leah's Happy Hearts

  • Address: based in Livonia
  • Phone: 734-522-1269 (talk to Kristen Collins)
  • Hours: hosts two events per year to fund its mission (in September and December); call or visit website to see how you can contribute

Leah's Happy Hearts was created in memory of Leah Elisabeth James, whose life was cut short due to an inoperable brain tumor. Help this group raise funds for research for pediatric brain cancer – and provide support for the kids – at its two large annual fundraisers. The Holiday Workshop happens in December (it allows pediatric patients to pick out gifts for their family and themselves for Christmas), and the Happy Feet for Happy Hearts event is in the fall. For the holidays, help by giving "gift" donations of $5-$10 or fund amounts of your choice.

Macomb Charitable Foundation

  • Address: 18215 24 Mile Road, Macomb Township
  • Phone: 586-232-3473 (talk to Shelly Penzien)
  • Hours: vary based on events

This nonprofit seeks to help kids living at or below the poverty level in Macomb County. It provides financial assistance for items such as food, clothing, rent/utility assistance, educational assistance and more. Volunteer opportunities include fundraisers, a book bag drive and summer camp for homeless children. The organization needs brand-new toys for kids of any age and gift cards for food and clothing to distribute to those in need.

Ronald McDonald House of Southeast Michigan

  • Address: 3911 Beaubien St., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-745-5909
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily; check ahead to see how you can get involved

This organization provides a "home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill children," focused on supplying health and support services to those in under-served communities. You can volunteer by raising funds, cooking or selling merchandise, among other options. Or pitch in with monetary donations, as well as gifts of non-perishable food.

Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division

  • Address: Eastern Michigan Divisional Headquarters, 16130 Northland Drive, Southfield
  • Phone: 877-SALMICH
  • Hours: vary by volunteering opportunity; check ahead for details

The Salvation Army is a nonprofit supplying social services and programs to people in need. There are over 100 locations in southeast Michigan. There are plenty of family volunteer options. The 2013 Red Kettle Campaign runs Nov. 8-Dec. 24 (excluding Sundays and Thanksgiving). There are 470 Red Kettle locations this year. Give at a kettle event or outpost – or sign up to volunteer your time as a kettle ringer.

United Way for Southeastern Michigan

  • Address: main: 660 Woodward Ave., Suite 300, Detroit; Oakland County: Bank of America Headquarters, 2600 W. Big Beaver Road, Suite 160, Troy; Macomb County: 48 S. Main St., Suite 2B, Mount Clemens
  • Phone: 313-226-9200 (main Detroit office)
  • Hours: vary based on volunteer opportunity

United Way aims to partner with you to help make metro Detroit a "Top 5" place to live. Its method? Ensuring kids graduate ready for college and a career, and providing individuals and families with access to food and shelter and to help them eventually become financially stable. You can help by choosing one of the many volunteer opportunities offered at United Way.

Variety the Children's Charity

  • Address: 600 S. Adams St., Suite 230, Birmingham
  • Phone: 248-258-5511
  • Hours: vary by type of volunteering; call ahead to see what's available

This children's charity is focused on helping kids, no matter what the need is. Variety allows you to volunteer in a way that interests you – whether you enjoy helping at special events or working on computers. Note that volunteers must be ages 18 and older.

Wigs for Kids

  • Address: 30126 Harper Ave., St. Clair Shores
  • Phone: 586-772-6656
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday

Wigs 4 Kids is a nonprofit focused on kids and teens/young adults with hair loss, helping them deal with social acceptance based on their appearance by providing them with an age-appropriate wig at no cost their family. Wigs 4 Kids has many opportunities for you to volunteer based on your interests, from easy money donations to an "Adopt-A-Kid" option and funding a kid's support services.

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